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IN SAVINGS Get Your Book Now!

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Washington Edition

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MAN UP’s Greg Bodine keeps Tony Finau on top of his game

Apple Tree Resort

Salish Cliffs Golf Club

Eaglemont Golf Course

GREAT DEALS! • Specia l Rates • Discou nts • 2-for-1 s Cedars at Port Ludlow •Dungeness Bonus Offers Golf Club



9 Playe201 rs Card Highlander Golf Club

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Snoqualmie Falls Whidbey Golf Course Golf Club

Save thousands on golf with the CG Players Card & NW Golfers Playbook! NOW ON SALE! See pages 14 & 15 for details!




Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to more than 90,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound region.

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VARSITY COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 4114 198th Street SW, Suite 5 Lynnwood, WA 98036 P: (425) 412-7070 F: (425) 412-7082


P R E S I D E NT / P U B LI S H E R Dick Stephens E D I TO R Brian Beaky ART DIRECTION Robert Becker GR APHIC DESIGNERS Robert Becker, Katie Erickson FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103


SALES & MARKETING Simon Dubiel, Ian Civey, Elijah Prokopenko



Volume 13 •  Issue 1 •  APRIL 2019





• Circling Raven turns 15 • Chambers’ new greens • Swinomish bounces back • New rules for 2019 • Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship • LPGA legends return in June • PLUS: CG Cup, Players Card, Match Play, Playbook and more!

A Match Made In Heaven When Tony Finau tees it up at Augusta this month, he’ll have UP’s Greg Bodine on his bag. BY STEVE KELLEY & BRIAN BEAKY



• Former Seahawk Mack Strong tees off


• M5/M6 headline top new drivers of 2019 • Our favorite new flatsticks • PLUS: 2019’s top balls & rangefinders

The Must-Play Courses Of 2019 After Snowmaggedon, we’re itching to get out and tee it up this spring — and these are the tracks we’re heading to first.


• Highlander G.C. | Hole 17



• South-end savings



• Rollin’ the dice

FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, CONTACT: Simon Dubiel • (425) 412-7070 ext. 100




Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2019 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted.


Highlander Golf Club • East Wenatchee

WIN FREE GOLF, STAY & PLAY PACKAGES AND MORE! February’s snow delayed the golf season for most of us. Not Roger Zoerb and Sue Staley, though — they were too busy enjoying the trips to Maui and Palm Springs they won in December’s Cascade Golfer:

It’s OK to be a little jealous. You should know, though, that we’re giving away even more great packages in this issue, including a stay-and-play to Circling Raven, and five incredible twosomes of golf!

Maui Stay-and-Play Roger Zoerb • Bothell

• CG Jackpot: Twosomes to Wine Valley, Highlander G.C.

Palm Springs Stay-and-Play Sue Staley • Federal Way Golf Show & Playbook Package Brenda Cagle • Mercer Island

and Whidbey G.C • Page 10

• Twosomes to The Home Course & Auburn G.C • Page 17 • Circling Raven Stay-and-Play • Page 57

Log on to for your chance to win!

APRIL 2019




Hope springs eternal for golf — and a thank you to Dave Pelz and Jan Stephenson


nother spring is upon us. One that, I hope, will make up for what seems like the longest winter the Puget Sound has ever had. If William Shakespeare were a golfer, this clearly would be his “Winter of Discontent.” It’s a good reminder to be mindful of your local golf courses and THANK THEM for all they do in enduring the long winters. Winter weather means even fewer rounds than normal for these tracks, and each lost $20-$75 on days when snow covers the fairways makes it harder and harder on our hard-working neighbors who own these courses, and make sacrifices to keep golf going on those short-light winter days. You’d be surprised what a “Thank you” or a “Congratulations” would mean to these folks. If anyone reads this and acts accordingly, it would make my day. Don’t be shy – shine some light on these outstanding individuals. Having lived here for 35 years, I do not remember this much snow, ice or rain from November to March. Much like the Midwest and East Coast, where the golfers are held captive all winter, only to bust out when daylight savings time kicks in, we Seattleites now have a true sense of what that pent-up energy feels like. We saw that in person at both the Seattle Golf Show and Portland Golf Show, where, thanks to our amazing partners and friends that help us produce the event, golfers clearly demonstrated the passion and energy they’re feeling for the year ahead. In both Rip City and here at home, we saw record crowds and high-water marks for consumer spending. These are great indicators that we are in for what seems to be a good year for golf. It was exciting to see Dave Pelz and Jan Stephenson attend and showcase the Seattle Golf Show. Pelz was center stage to a standing-room audience, representing Synlawn. He’s one of a small handful of teaching gurus whose


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name is synonymous with a certain part of the game. As the wizard of the short game, Pelz dazzled the folks in attendance with his insights, his history, and stories of the world’s best players and how he helped them. Just think of how many strokes he’s responsible for saving, and how much money his teachings have brought the pros. Indeed, 11 of his students have won a combined 21 majors — including, most recently, Patrick Reed at last year’s Masters. To have him at our show was a treat. Stephenson, a World Golf Hall of Famer, brought a glimmer to the show and stage. She not only won 34 titles worldwide and three majors during her career, but she brought in an elegance and fashion, appealing to men and women alike. There have been other players that have tried to strike that balance on the LPGA Tour over the last 50 years, but Stephenson set a standard. She was not just a pretty face — she was globally recognized and galvanized the LPGA in her native Australia, across Europe, North America and even Asia as an ambassador for Dunlop and Maxfli in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. I am proud to say that I had one of Jan Stephenson’s posters on my wall as a kid next to my Lee Trevino shrine. Both Pelz and Stephenson brought huge dynamism into our grey, wet world over the golf show weekend, and I say thank you to both. I hope that you will read Brian Beaky’s “In The Bag” feature in this issue. The new 2019 equipment is, in my opinion, the best new outlay for the consumer in the past five years. Puetz is the place to test and fit all these new sticks — I would encourage you to see for yourself. I am stoked about spring and ready to play more than last year. Keep sharing with us on Facebook, Twitter and – your input is the lifeblood of this enterprise. Enjoy the season and as always, TAKE IT EASY!

SHORT GAME Circling Raven’s 15th Anniversary Has Been 200 Years in the Making


olks in this part of what we now call Idaho, approximately 30 minutes south of Coeur d’Alene, have been telling stories of Circling Raven for over 200 years. No, not the golf course, of course — though, that’s certainly merited more than a few words of flowing prose in magazines and golf blogs worldwide since opening in 2003 — but of the tribal leader who lived in the region in the late 18th and early 19th century, leading his people through some of the most controversial events in tribal history, from the first contact with white men, to a vision of the Catholic missionaries who would soon come and convert tribal members from their centuries-old religions. Two centuries later, as Circling Raven’s descendants made plans to open a world-class championship golf course on tribal land, Director of Golf Dave Christenson reflected on the momentous change in fortunes the course and accompanying casino resort could have for


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the tribe, and thought of Circling Raven. Thus was the course’s name born. Fifteen years later, Circling Raven’s namesake is thriving, perennially ranked among the nation’s top public courses and expanding continually to meet the demands of golfers traveling from all around the globe to share the land that Circling Raven himself once roamed. From a single bingo hall in 1993, the resort has grown to include a casino, hotel, events center, fine dining and world-class spa. Multiple wings have been added to the original hotel building, with a comprehensive casino refurbishment to be unveiled this spring.

Designer Gene Bates was the first to really see the land the way Circling Raven saw it, in all of its natural splendor. While others like Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye and Robert Trent Jones, Jr., saw the highway and train tracks that bisect the land as obstacles, Bates saw them as features he could use to enhance a golfer’s experience, and showcase the beauty of the land. The presence of Highway 95 to the west allowed Bates to push farther up the eastern hillside than other architects had considered, bringing in elevation changes that allowed golfers to see the landscape from a new perspective. The train tracks, meanwhile, allowed Bates to craft tunnels and bridges that add an old-world charm to a new-world course, taking golfers back, however briefly, to that time in the 19th century when the locomotive first brought the outside world to the wild west, just as Circling Raven (the golf course, that is) brings them back today. Bates’ course sprawls across 620 acres of wetlands, creeks, evergreens and Palouse grasses. There are split fairways, elevated tee boxes, risk-reward delights, and more than a few moments that will take one’s breath away. It’s been called a top-100 public course by Golf magazine, Golf Digest and Golfweek, a top-10 tribal course in the U.S., and made just about everyone’s “best new” list when it hosted its first full season in 2004. As it celebrates its 15th full season in 2019, the legend of Circling Raven has only grown — just like the legend of its forebear did two centuries before. “It’s a complete golf course,” says Bates. “ I’m gratified to hear players applaud it as a truly great golf experience.” Francis SiJohn, the chief executive of the resort and a Coeur d’Alene tribal member himself, says that preserving the legacy of Circling Raven and the tribe he once led is the golf’s course’s primary mission. “Circling Raven Golf Club is a wonderful amenity and championship course that brings great enjoyment to players and guests from around the world,” Sijohn says. “But, most importantly, the course stays true to our tribal mission to nurture our land and use it in ways respectful to our heritage and tradition.” Two centuries ago, the wider world came to this land and forever altered the lives of the people who called it home. Today, people are coming once again, and having a similar impact on the tribe’s future. The legend of Circling Raven lives on.


Chambers Bay’s All-New Greens Are Ready For Their Close-Up

enrik Stenson, eat your heart out. A six-month closure of Chambers Bay will come to an end on April 1, when the 2015 U.S. Open venue debuts its long-awaited Poa annua greens. The greens — re-sodded with turf brought down from British Columbia — have been growing in since the second week of November, and a mild winter, combined with thermal covers for all 18 greens, has the new surfaces on track to make their formal debuts this spring. “It’s really been cool to see the whole process,” says Brent Zepp, Director of Golf. “It’s a big project, moving in and out literal tons of sod and watching it all go in. Everything has gone incredibly well, though, and now we’re just anxious to take those covers off and let golfers get out there.” While the official process of removing the greens didn’t begin until after the course closed for the season last fall, one could say that it in fact dates back to June of 2015, when two weeks of scalding temperatures in advance of the U.S. Open forced greenskeepers to water more than usual, allowing the invasive Poa annua grasses to proliferate. The resulting “broccoli,” as Stenson famously called the tufts of Poa that protruded from the fescue surfaces, left many Tour stars grumbling about greens that were unfit to host a national championship. That the tournament also featured one of the strongest final-day leaderboards in U.S. Open history (including dueling eagle putts to win on the 72nd hole) did little to quell the sense that Chambers Bay’s greens — long a battle for course staff to properly maintain — had finally reached a tipping point. An invasive grass common at other Northwest

courses for how well-suited it is to our climate, Poa was being tracked in on golfers’ shoes and pushing out the less-aggressive fescue. The only solutions were to somehow prevent the Poa from reaching the greens, or to stop fighting nature and let the Poa win. In consultation with the USGA, the decision was made to completely re-sod all 18 greens. Three greens — No. 7, No. 10 and No. 13 — were re-sodded in 2017, and after a year of testing, including positive reviews from players, USGA representatives and course staff alike, the remaining 15 greens were ripped out and re-sodded this past fall. When the course re-opens in April, players will notice greens that are deeper in color than the rest of the turf at Chambers Bay. Outside of color and consistency, though, players should see little difference. “We definitely wanted to preserve the firm and fast nature of the greens, which is an important part of an authentic links golf experience,” Zepp says. “Poa, like fescue, is a sand-based turf, so the water drains through it really well and it winds up nice and firm if you irrigate and maintain it just right. The first few greens, they were soft when they first went in, but after a few months went by, they were just as firm and fast as the rest of the course.” “They’re doing really good right now, and we’re looking forward to getting them open.” Chambers Bay is currently booking tee times starting April 1 — in fact, our Cascade Golfer Cup event at Chambers on Apr. 20 will be one of the first tournaments played on the course’s new greens. To learn more, visit APRIL 2019


SHORT GAME Swinomish Golf Links Rebounds From 2018 Vandalism Read below for how you can take advantage of a free round at Swinomish this year!


winomish Golf Links wants you to know: We’re back in business. In May of last year, Swinomish staff arrived at the golf course — located between Similk and Fidalgo Bays, about 20 minutes west of I-5 at Burlington — to discover that vandals had sprayed a grass-killing chemical on 16 of the 18 greens, sparing only those closest to the clubhouse security cameras — Nos. 9 and 18. Lest anyone think the cause of the greens’ sudden demise may have been natural, the vandals even used the chemical to spell out a swear word on the green at No. 11. “It had to be a very involved process,” Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby told KOMO News at the time. “These individuals knew what they were doing.” The vandals’ malicious intent was furthered by the timing, with the crime occurring right at the start of the Northwest’s peak playing season. To repair the damage,


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Swinomish was forced to shut down operations for a month, from June 11-July 11, tear out all 16 of the damaged greens and replace each one with new sod from Moses Lake. The economic impact — including repair costs and lost revenue — has been estimated at more than $400,000. Despite a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, no perpetrators have been caught, nor has any reasoning for the attack been given. Rather than dwell on the past, though, Swinomish staff immediately started looking to the future. Even while the old greens were still being cut from the soil, course representatives were already planning for a grand re-opening, including free golf to anyone who wished to attend. Local non-profits were stationed at each hole, and golfers could choose to make donations if they so desired. “We got such a tremendous amount of support when this happened that we felt that it was important to give back and say, ‘Thank you,’” said Dallas Widmark, Lodge

General Manager for the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, in a follow-up interview with KOMO upon the course’s re-opening in July. The event was such a success, in fact — drawing more than 300 golfers — that Widmark says the course plans to make it an annual affair, a way to raise money for local community interests. In addition, Swinomish is offering Cascade Golfer readers an even better deal — a free round of golf anytime through June 1 (see ad below). Check out the new greens for yourself, and let Swinomish know that they’re appreciated. Vandals may have shut the course down for a month last year, but it’s only helped raise the golf course’s profile in the region, and strengthened its relationship with the local community. “I really think we’re going to do everything we can to turn this into a positive,” Widmark says.

New Rules Make the Game Easier — and Faster, Too


ast year, we reported on the more significant changes being made to the Rules of Golf in 2019 — rules that have now been in effect since Jan. 1. While the snow, cold and rain have probably prevented you from logging too many rounds up to this point in the year, we know you’ll be out there swingin’ the sticks soon, if you haven’t already, and want to make sure that you’re aware of the five most significant changes, so that you can play faster and score better this year.

1. No more plugged balls

Is your ball plugged in a fairway or rough? Go ahead and pull it out for a free drop.

2. Easier play out of hazards

If you find yourself in a hazard, you can now remove any loose impediments, and are also free to ground your club. That’ll hopefully save strokes, and also extend the life of your sticks.

3. No more driving back to the tee

Can’t find your ball, or drive up to find it surprisingly out of bounds? Rather than drive back to the tee box, a new local rule (for courses that adopt it) would allow you to drop in the nearest fairway area to where your ball was found (or

thought to be), for a two-stroke penalty. It’s the same score (two extra strokes) as if you went back to re-hit, but saves you time and sets you up better for your next shot.

4. Easier play from bunkers, too

You can also now remove loose impediments in bunkers, and can test the sand with your hand or club anywhere except directly adjacent to the ball. And, if you find yourself with a fried egg or a ball embedded in the face, you can go ahead and drop outside the bunker entirely for a two-stroke penalty.

5. Easier play on the greens

Go ahead and leave that flagstick in if you want — even if you hit it, it’s OK. Also, feel free to fix any unnatural damage in your line — spike marks, footprints, etc. So often, it seems, rule changes make the game more complicated, or harder to understand. In this case, the new rules have been designed to make the game faster, easier and, frankly, to reflect common sense. We’ve only highlighted a small handful of the rule changes here — for a complete list (the USGA’s summary of just the most significant changes comprises 37 rules over eight pages), visit

APRIL 2019


SHORT GAME Local Teens Split $1,000 Junior Golf Scholarship from Duke’s Chowder House and Cascade Golfer


Colin Morkert

t one point, it looked like we might go one way. Then, briefly, we started to lean the other direction. Finally, we decided — both of these candidates for the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship are so deserving, why don’t we just give it to both of them? So it is that Jesse Brendle of Sammamish and Colin Morkert of Gig Harbor were named co-recipients of the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship for the spring of 2019. The duo will split the $1,000 quarterly award, each receiving $500 to put towards their growth in the game of golf. “Both Colin and Jesse are great examples of what we look for in awarding this scholarship,” says John Moscrip, COO of Duke’s Chowder House. “They are both excellent students with a strong commitment to their local communities, and have a passion for the game of golf that they’ll take with them throughout their lives.” An eighth-grader at Goodman Middle School in Gig Harbor, Colin is a long-time participant in Junior PGA and First Tee programs. After learning about the Youth On Course program — a Washington State Golf Association program that allows young golfers to play 18-hole rounds for just $5 — Colin played his first-ever championship round just last spring, firing a 115 at Madrona Links. By the end of the summer, playing frequently through Youth On Course, he had shaved an incredible 30 strokes off of his game and was scoring regularly in the low-80s, with occasional rounds in the 70s. We’d be happy with that kind of improvement over six years, much less six months.

Colin is also a 4.0 student and is active in both community Young Life and school leadership programs, helping make cards for hospitalized children, gathering clothes to be shipped to at-need African communities, and organizing food and gift drives. “I love the game of golf because it’s a different game every time. One day you can shoot par, 70, or 100,” Morkert says. “Thank you John Moscrip and Duke’s, along with Cascade Golfer, for honoring me with this award! This money will help me improve my game and continue to pursue my passion for golf.” Jesse, likewise, has shown a knack for improvement, shaving 20 strokes off of his nine-hole scores since joining the Sammamish High School golf team just two years ago. Now a junior, Jesse also maintains a near-4.0 average despite a rigorous AP STEM course load, works as a certified lifeguard at the community pool, and somehow still finds time to help care for his seven siblings, often preparing meals and selling homebaked pies to support his hard-working single mom. While he may or may not play golf in college, Jesse has plans to go far with interests in engineering, architecture and biological technology. “This scholarship will help provide a way for many opportunities in my college future and help me achieve my goals in life and in the amazing game of golf,” Brendle says. “I want to thank Duke’s and Cascade Golfer for the opportunity to be a part of this award, and I’m so thankful they choose me as one of the winners.” We found out about Colin and Jesse because Cascade Golfer readers who know them reached out to let us know

Jesse Brendle

what amazing young men they are. If you have someone you think we should know about, send us a message on Facebook or email Nominees need not be the next Jordan Spieth, but simply have a committed love for the game of golf, plus outstanding academic and service records. We’ll choose one winner to announce in every issue of Cascade Golfer, and award that individual $1,000 courtesy of Duke’s Chowder House. Who knows, the next winner of the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship could be sitting across the table from you right now!

Junior Golfer Scholarship

Win $1,000 For Your Young Golfer The Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship awarded in each issue of Cascade Golfer to a deserving young golfer from the Puget Sound region. If you know of a hard-working young person with a passion for golf who could benefit from $1,000, email today!

YOUR Win A Summer Golf Road Trip!


t’s never too early to start planning your big golf getaway. We’re going to get you started with twosomes to THREE of the courses we’re most excited to play in 2019 (see story on page 46) — Wine Valley, Highlander and Whidbey G.C.! Whether you’re planning to tour Walla Walla wine country and tee it up at our state’s No. 3 public course, spend a weekend in Leavenworth or Lake Chelan and play one of Washington’s most scenic courses, or drive across Deception Pass to uncover a formerly private gem, you’re guaranteed a good time with this one. You can’t win if you don’t enter, so log on to today!


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Wine Valley Golf Club • Walla Walla

The Golf Club at Echo Falls • No. 18

Management Group Behind Gold Mountain, McCormick Woods Takes Over Echo Falls


t’s been a few years since Oki Golf sold The Golf Club at Echo Falls to an international investment firm in 2015, in what turned out to be a harbinger of Oki’s larger sale of its remaining courses a year later. In the years since, Echo Falls has continued to be managed by Oki Golf and part of the company’s popular Oki Golf Players Card. In January, however, it was announced that Oki will no longer have any official relationship with the course, and management company Columbia Hospitality will take over the course’s day-today affairs. The Seattle-based group is certainly no stranger to golf course management, currently providing services for Gold Mountain Golf Club, McCormick Woods Golf Club, The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club and others. Longtime Echo Falls devotees will be able to take advantage of Columbia’s membership programs, which include unlimited golf packages, junior golf programs, discounts and more. In addition, Columbia manages a number of hotels and conference centers throughout the Northwest and beyond — including Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls, Semiahmoo Resort and others — perhaps making the company a better fit for the long-term goals of Echo Falls’ new owners. At the time of Echo Falls’ purchase in 2015, buyer Kung Fu Panda, LLC, stated an intention to build a 100-room hotel and expand the clubhouse facility in an effort to make the course a destination for international tourists. “We are thrilled to add this spectacular golf club to our growing portfolio,” said Columbia Hospitality founder and CEO John Oppenheimer. “We look forward to working with Echo Falls’ current team to provide exceptional guest experiences and take advantage of the club’s incredible amenities and stunning location. We are confident that Echo Falls will only add to the existing synergies we have with our other Columbia Golf properties.”

Start your season off with

2 Great Spring Events

Where Golf Meets Family, Friendship and Community

2019 Two Person Best Ball Saturday April 27 • 9am Shotgun Entry: $90 Includes golf, range balls, lunch & prizes. Over $4,000 Prize Fund

Offering Office & Home Delivery & Coffee Service for 30 Years

3 Days of Golf! 2019 Men’s Invitational May 24 - 26

Redeem for 2-for-1 Green Fees

*Valid 7 days a week after 1pm on Regular open play green fee of $55.

Practice round • horse race Friday May 24 Entry: $225 Format: 36 Hole Stroke Play 1 practice rd. • 2 tourn rds. • 2 lunches Saturday Night Dinner • Tee prizes Over $10,000 Prize Fund • (360) 675-5490 2430 SW Fairway Lane, Oak Harbor WA 98227 APRIL 2019



Loomis Trail Golf Club • Blaine

Cascade Golfer Cup Adds Loomis Trail to Exciting Course Lineup Region’s most popular amateur tournament series features $10,000 in prizes at every event


rom the moment we heard that the Lummi Nation had purchased Loomis Trail Golf Club in Blaine, with plans to make it fully public, we knew we had to get it into the Cascade Golfer Cup rotation. We’ve prided ourself over the years on playing our series of seven tournaments on the best courses the state has to offer — we’ve been to Gamble Sands and Gold Mountain, Salish Cliffs and Trophy Lake, and kick off every year at Chambers Bay. We’ve never, though, been able to crack into perhaps the best pairing of golf courses this side of the Cascade Mountains in Loomis Trail and Semiahmoo — at least, not until now. This year’s Cascade Golfer Cup will once again travel to some of Washington’s top tracks — including Loomis Trail, ranked No. 5 in the state by Golfweek — giving 64 two-person teams the chance to play in fun, team-scoring formats and compete to win up to $10,000 in prizes at each event. Every tournament is its own individual competition, with its own great prizes, including twosomes and foursomes to the state’s top courses, stay-and-plays to Maui, Bandon Dunes and other dream locales, and more, all awarded in both net- and gross-scoring divisions. Golfers who compete in multiple events also earn points towards the season-long Cascade Golfer Cup and its own bevy of outstanding prizes, including the Summer of Golf 2020 package, featuring 15 twosomes to the best courses Washington has to offer. We’ll start 2019 the way we always do, with the Season Opener at Chambers Bay on Apr. 20, where our players will be among some of the very first to check out the 2015 U.S. Open venue’s new Poa annua greens. After that, it’s off to Washington National on May 11 for the Muckleshoot Casino Players Championship, followed by Salish Cliffs on June 1, The Home Course on June 22 and Trophy Lake on July 20, before our first-ever visit to Loomis Trail, Aug. 17. The season wraps up Sept. 7


APRIL 2019

with the Puetz Golf Shootout at White Horse, with prizes awarded at the Year-End Awards Party two weeks later. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I’m not good enough to play tournament golf.” As a bunch of mid-handicappers, we used to think that, too, which is precisely why we created a tournament series that gave every player a chance. With prizes for both the top-15 net and top-10 gross-scoring teams, you don’t have to be the best player in the field to win — just play your best on that day, or ham-and-egg it with your partner, and you could be the one taking home the pin flags at day’s end. We also prize out six hole contests and offer additional giveaways and contests throughout the day, giving you the chance to take home some goodies even on a day where you’re spraying ‘em all over the place. In fact, with more than 30 prizes at every event, and the field limited to just 64 teams, nearly half of the teams in the field have the chance to take home a prize! Longtime players say the camaraderie among participants, and the professionalism of tournament staff are the main reasons they come back year after year. “My son and I have been playing in the Cascade Golfer Cup for the last several years, and it has been a great experience!” says Rob Brautigam. “I’ve met several great people and it’s always fun to see familiar faces and meet new competitors. The prizes are great, it’s always well-organized, and the CG Cup team does a great job of creating a competitive tournament that is fair to all entrants.” We’ve handed out trophies — and the incredible stayand-play packages that go with them — to fathers and sons, husbands and wives, best friends, coworkers and just about any other pairing of golfers you can imagine. You could be next! All you need to enter is an established handicap, a playing partner and a desire to have fun. To learn more, visit or email


Cascade Golfer Cup Over $10,000 in prizes at every tournament

April 20 • 10 am • Chambers Bay Season Opener May 11 • 7:30 am • Washington National Muckleshoot Casino Players Championship June 1 • 2 pm • Salish Cliffs Cascade Golfer Challenge June 22 • 2 pm • The Home Course Michelob ULTRA Open

Net and gross prizes 2-player format 25 team prizes at each tournament!

July 20 • 8 am • Trophy Lake Scramble August 17 • 10 am • Loomis Trail Sept. 7 • 8 am • White Horse Puetz Golf Shootout

“The most fun an amateur golfer can have playing tournament golf”

Great Competition • Great Camaraderie

Great Fun!

To register or for more information visit Click on the Cup!


Contact: Simon Dubiel (425) 412-7070 ext.100





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APRIL 2019

SHORT GAME Play More Golf, At More Courses, For Less Money With the 2019 Northwest Golfers Playbook


aybe you missed our December issue. Maybe this is the first time you’ve ever picked up Cascade Golfer. Or, maybe you’re just not one to trust deals that seem too good to be true. For whatever reason, you haven’t heard about the Northwest Golfers Playbook — or haven’t yet picked one up. Well, do we have good news for you. The Northwest Golfers Playbook is a coupon book for golf. You pay $39.95 up front for the book, and in exchange, you receive deals to more than 60 different Washington courses (plus destinations in Portland and Central Oregon), including the local tracks where you play the most, and the high-end destination tracks you like to visit in the summer. Spend the springtime taking advantage of close-to-home deals like all-day play for the price of 18 at Avalon, 2-for-1 at Eagles Pride, 4-for-3 at Chambers Bay or Salish Cliffs, 25 percent off at Port Ludlow, 18 for the price of nine at Mount Si, half-off lessons at Puetz and more. Then, when summer rolls around, point your car east and enjoy discounted greens fees and other deals to Apple Tree, Bear Mountain Ranch, Desert Canyon, Gamble Sands, Suncadia, Palouse Ridge, Wine Valley and more. There are deals for single golfers and foursomes, those who just want to play the local munis, and those who love traveling to find the state’s best rounds. There are deals for weekend golfers and others with more flexible schedules, plus discounts on lessons, club fittings and other golf-related expenses that anyone can enjoy. Whether using the book to save on rounds played by yourself or with a buddy, to encourage your foursome to splurge for a fancier round on one of those high-end tracks you’ve always wanted to play, or to pocket big savings on your summer golf excursion, you’re guaranteed to find deals that match your lifestyle and budget. A full list of deals and restrictions are listed on the website at, so browse the list and find the deals that are the best fit for you. Deals expire Dec. 31, so the sooner you buy, the more time you’ll have to save. Head into Puetz Golf to pick one up, or visit and use the code “SAVEBIGONGOLF” to start saving early with five dollars off of your online purchase. We all say we’d play more golf if it cost less money. With the Northwest Golfers Playbook, it will — so get out there and let ‘em rip.

2019 Players Card Apple Tree Resort • Yakima

10 Rounds — Including Salish Cliffs — for $240? Only With the Cascade Golfer Players Card


ven in this market, where we have a large number of golf courses that provide a killer value, it’s tough to find many truly great rounds for less than $40. And, were you to draw that line at $25? You’ll need a time-traveling Delorean to find a good round at that rate. So, what if I told you that there’s a way you can play Salish Cliffs — ranked No. 5 in the state by CG readers two years ago, ahead of courses like Palouse Ridge and Prospector — for an average cost of just $24? Or, that you can also play Apple Tree — a round that typically tops out at $75 — for the same cost? Plus Port Ludlow, Eaglemont, Whidbey Golf Club, Highlander, Cedars at Dungeness, Leavenworth, Mount Si and Snoqualmie Falls — all for just an average of $24? You’d call me crazy. I’d tell you that all you need is a Cascade Golfer Players Card. For a pre-paid cost of $240, the Cascade Golfer Players Card grants you one greens fee at each of the 10 courses mentioned above. We’re not just talking offpeak times, either. All 10 rounds are good any month through Dec. 31, both on weekdays, and weekends after noon — meaning, when you tee it up at 12:01 p.m. on a sunny Saturday in August at Salish Cliffs, and the folks you’re paired with tell you they just paid $109 for their round, you can just smile and start imagining what you’ll do with the extra $85 in your pocket. Not everyone will use every round, of course. But, as demonstrated above, you don’t have to in order to get your money’s worth. Play just Salish Cliffs ($109 at peak times), Apple Tree ($75) and either Port Ludlow ($55) or Eaglemont ($71) and you’ll break even; add in any of the other seven tracks, and you’ll be putting money right back into your pocket. Only 200 cards were printed, and nearly half have sold already — and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Buy yours today at!

600 in golf for only $240


10 Rounds of golf for only $240 Salish Cliffs Golf Club

Apple Tree Resort

Whidbey Golf Club

Eaglemont Golf Club

Cedars at Dungeness

Port Ludlow Golf Club

Highlander Golf Club

Leavenworth Golf Club

Mt. Si Golf Course

Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course

Good for one 18 hole greens fee at all ten courses! To Purchase or for more information visit

APRIL 2019



The Home Course • DuPont

Experience The Thrill of Match Play in the CG Match Play Championships

Salish Cliffs G.C. • Shelton

here’s nothing quite like experiencing the thrill of match play. Every hole is its own self-contained competition, a battle of wills between two golfers. The best matchplay golfers aren’t necessarily the best golfers — rather, they’re the ones who are truly able to leave their bad (and good) shots behind them, and focus only on the shot ahead. That snowman you just took? By the time you reach the next tee, it’s gone — win this one by a stroke, and you’re right back to even. That’s why the finals of the World Golf Championships Match Play almost never feature the top-ranked players (a top-five player has made the finals just nine times total in the tourney’s 20 years). Match play isn’t about how physically talented you are; it’s about how mentally tough you are. The same is true of the Cascade Golfer Match Play Championships, where up to 128 players compete in head-to-head matches on courses throughout Western Washington for the chance to earn a spot in the quarterfinals at Salish Cliffs, where greens fees and — should

you make it to the finals — a night’s stay at the Little Creek Casino Resort are comped for all participants. Golfers are paired by region and handicap in early rounds, and work with their opponent to schedule matches at a time and course convenient to their schedule. Every golfer who enters the tournament receives a 2-for-1 to Salish Cliffs, and prizes improve with each match a golfer wins, from twosomes and foursomes to the state’s top courses, to stay-and-play packages to destinations like Las Vegas and Palm Springs. In addition, all matches are handicap-based, so every player has a chance to win! Last year’s bracket featured players of all ages, genders and skill levels — indeed, the eight quarterfinal participants had handicaps ranging from 4.6 to 16.3. If you’ve never experienced tournament golf before, it’s a great way to start, without the pressure of a large field looking on, or of having to play an unfamiliar course. The first round begins in June — to sign up or learn more, visit, or email simon@





Win Two South-End Twosomes!


ive down south, or maybe just want to check out two of the best public courses south of SeaTac? This two-pack should help you get started: we’re giving you a twosome of golf to The Home Course — ranked seventh in the state by CG readers in 2017 — plus a second twosome to one of our favorite local munis, Auburn Golf Course! You’ll be teeing it up on the shores of Puget Sound, then blasting away from a ridge overlooking the Auburn valley ... all without pulling your wallet from your pocket. Log on to today for your chance to win!

THE ROAD TO SALISH CLIFFS Matches played locally at the golf course of your choice. • Net based Matches. • Open to all golfers with an active handicap. • 128 golfers from Oregon and Washington compete in pods and regions, Bracket Style.


• Starting in May participants have 4 weeks to play their match each round on agreed upon time and venue with their opponent. • The Final Eight will be played Sept. 13-14 at Salish Cliffs Golf Club. Green fees for all matches from the Final Eight on will be comped for all players. • All golfers get a 2-for-1 to Salish Cliffs. • Top 32 prize out. Prizes improve with each match won.

For more information or to register visit

• Overall champion receives a golf package to Las Vegas or Palm Springs

APRIL 2019




Michelle McGann

Trish Johnson

Liselotte Neumann

Photos By Rick Sharp • The Legends Tour

LPGA Legends Return to White Horse in June


eady for something new in Northwest golf? How about a Friday-Saturday professional tournament? The Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup, presented by the Boeing Company, with LPGA veterans age 45 and over, has been moved to the Friday-Saturday dates of June 7-8 after originally being scheduled for the weekend. The date change is intended to accommodate golfers who want or need to attend the World Golf Hall of Fame induction dinner at Pebble Beach, Calif., on Sunday. One such participant is Jan Stephenson, who will enter the Hall alongside Retief Goosen, the late Peggy Kirk Bell, former Masters chairman Billy Payne and paralyzed trick-shot clinician Dennis Walters. The tournament’s title merits explanation. Suquamish is the tribe that owns White Horse Golf Club outside Kingston, where the event will be played. Clearwater is the tribal-owned casino located on Agate Pass just across the bridge from Bainbridge Island. Legends refers to the Legends Tour, the official senior division of the LPGA. Last year’s inaugural event at White Horse was won by England’s Trish Johnson, who finished 8-under par with a 66-70-136. Johnson had the shot of the tournament in the final round, when she bent her 100-yard second shot at the par-4 fifth hole around a stump and had it stop two feet from the pin. “Being the defending champion is great because you already know you like the course – it gives you confidence


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that is hard to replicate,” Johnson says. “You also get a little bit more attention, and as professional golfers we all crave that limelight. It never gets old.” According to Sue Fracker, director of marketing for the Legends Tour, the tournament is expanding this year from 30 to 36 golfers, and the purse is being boosted from $175,000 to $200,000. Golfers who have committed to play include Stephenson, Johnson, Juli Inkster, Hollis Stacy, Jane Blalock, Liselotte Neumann, Rosie Jones and Michelle McGann. Suzy Whaley, the first female president of the PGA of America, also is entered. Stephenson, 67, appeared at the Seattle Golf Show to promote the tournament. Asked what hole on the course is her favorite, she replied No. 18, which has an elevated tee and water down its left side. Fans on the patio outside the clubhouse get an excellent view. “I just love that hole,” she said, adding that, “It almost needs to be a par-5.” Johnson also has a soft spot for White Horse. “What struck me every day was how gorgeous the area was,” she says. “The view over the water each morning was spectacular, and the drive to the course was so pretty, with a truly fabulous golf course at the end of it.” “I’m also looking forward to seeing all the people who made the tournament possible last year,” she adds. “They are a great bunch of people, so enthusiastic and friendly. I felt very welcome at White Horse.”

Asked how golf is changing, the Australian-born Stephenson said the quest for length off the tee has become paramount at all levels of golf. “Golf has become a power game,” she said. “You used to say, ‘Drive for show and putt for dough,’ but that’s not true anymore. You want to hit it as far as you can. It doesn’t matter if it’s crooked. You’ve got to hit it a long way.” One-day admission is $20 and two-day admission is $30. On most holes, fans will be permitted to walk on the fairway behind the golfers they are following. Shuttles will be available from Kingston and Winslow to transport fans who walk onto ferries rather than take their cars. The Kaiser Permanente Women’s Amateur Team Scramble will be Wed., June 5, and the entry fee is $125 per player. The format is a two-woman scramble with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. The low-gross and low-net twosome winners will team with a pro in the Pro-Am the next day. If you don’t win your way in, you can still play in Thursday’s Pro-Am, where foursomes will be paired with a Legends pro. The foursome entry fee is $7,500. Some of the Suquamish tournament proceeds will benefit the WomenSpirit (cq) Coalition, a Native American charity also known as the Washington State Native American Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. To learn more, or to buy tickets, visit the tournament website at — Craig Smith



Seahawks Great Mack Strong is Still Dedicated to Clearing a Path for Others AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR


n a 14-year NFL career — all with the Seahawks — and in four years prior at the University of Georgia, Mack Strong earned a reputation as the man who paved the way for some of the league’s greatest tailbacks, including Hall of Famer Terrell Davis, Garrison Hearst, Ricky Watters, and 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander. Since retiring in 2007 — well, actually, since 2002, when he and his wife, Zoe, founded the TEAM-WORKS Academy — Strong has been doing the same for area youth. Mack and his academy staff work with middle- and high-school kids throughout the Highline School District (and in selected other areas across the region), teaching them how to put the TEAM-WORKS philosophy — focusing on a strong mind, body and What prompted you to start the foundation? “We wanted to work with kids. Some of them come from environments where there is not a lot of support, or maybe some gang activity. Whenever you have kids that come from those kind of unstable backgrounds, it can make it hard for them to focus and concentrate in a more stable environment, like school, which makes it challenging for them to be the best student they can be and often leads to them getting in trouble. So, what we’re doing is taking some of these kids who are struggling with school and behavior issues, and giving them tools and support to help them navigate the world they live in.” Do you have any specific success stories? “There was one girl who was in a place like I’m talking about, and we were able to connect with her and help her raise her grades from less than a two-point GPA, to more than a 3.5. She ended up going on to high school and being successful, and now she’s applying to colleges. Now, certainly not every success story is that extreme; sometimes, it’s just a matter of helping a kid engage in a positive way that makes all the difference. The fact is, everybody needs a mentor — I learned that myself through the years, being a part of teams and connecting my success directly to the guys next to me. So, we just try to bring that mindset to young men and women and help them be successful in life.” Who were some of those mentors for you? “All the coaches that I’ve had, from soccer coaches when I was kid, through the NFL, who believed in me, and supported me and saw something in me and motivated me to put it towards a good purpose — they made all the difference in the world. That’s been a part of my DNA my whole life — to be a hard worker, which started at home with my parents.”


APRIL 2019

character — to use in their lives. Mack estimates that he’s worked directly with hundreds kids over the last 17 years, helping many of them improve their grades, stay out of trouble, and achieve goals like attending college. It’s that foundation which is the beneficiary of Strong’s annual Mack Strong TEAM-WORKS Charity Golf Tournament, drawing Seattle-area sports starts like Jordan Babineaux, Joe Tafoya, Slick Watts, Jack Thompson, Nesby Glasgow, Paul Johns, Jim Zorn, Sean Locklear, Marcus Trufant and others to Newcastle for a fun afternoon of golf with local players and supporters each year. This year’s event is scheduled for Wed., July 10, and tickets and sponsorships are available at

How did you start playing golf? “My first experience playing golf, I hated it! I went with my friend in high school, and just assumed that, being a good athlete, it would probably be pretty easy. And, honestly, it was embarrassing. It took me 12 strokes just to make contact. I really didn’t get into it until I got through my playing days. I was wary at first, because I didn’t like being bad at something, but I had a lot of friends who played, and there are so many great golf courses in the Seattle area ... eventually I just fell in love with it.” What are some of your favorite courses? “I lived at Newcastle for years, so that’s my No. 1. But, I also played a lot of muni courses — Bellevue Municipal, Chambers Bay. And Maplewood as well, that’s a fun little course. I live in Pullman now, so I play Palouse Ridge a lot, and have Circling Raven just a short drive away, plus a lot of great little public courses in Lewiston, Idaho.” What do you like about golf? “Golf is such a detailed sport. You really have to commit to it to get good at it, or even just to get decent. Every weekend, there are professionals out there who hit shots that resemble my shots — these are guys that have been doing it their whole lives, and are the best in the world, and they’re still capable of occasionally looking like an everyday golfer. It’s the most humbling sport I’ve ever played.” How’s your golf game? “It’s getting better. I’m a visual learner, and I watch a lot of golf. When I sit down in front my TV, I’ll go to The Golf Channel before I even go to ESPN. I don’t always have time to go spend 3-4 hours on the driving range, or getting lessons, so I learn a lot just from watching guys on TV and trying to imitate what I see.”

What makes a good fullback? “Determination. Fullbacks are generally guys who are either too big and stiff to play tailback, or too slow. I’d say I was probably too slow. I didn’t have the breakaway speed that they like at the NFL level, but I had a lot of toughness and determination, and could do a lot of other things that a good running back could do, so I was able to stick around for a long time. Nowadays, you see people trying to stretch the field, and using tight ends almost as hybrid fullbacks and receivers. But, when you look at the teams that are perennially successful, a lot of those teams have legitimate fullbacks. I don’t know if it will ever be like it was in my era, where it seemed like almost every team had a high-profile fullback, but I do think it will come back around.” You spent your entire NFL career — 14 years — in one city. That’s practically unheard of. “I had the opportunity to go into free agency two or three times in my career, and always made the decision to come back. And, that wasn’t because of the team, it was because of the community I was a part of and the city I was a part of. At the end of the day, it’s not all about money; you’ve got to be happy. I got to stay with one team my whole career, and be part of a great community that has treated my family well all these years. It was a win-win for me.” If the 2005 Seahawks and 2013 Seahawks met on the field in their primes, who would win? “Obviously, the ‘13 team won it all, and they had a phenomenal defense, while we had a phenomenal offense. You’d have the NFL MVP at running back, and an offensive line with two future Hall of Famers on it, going against a defense that just shut everybody down. It’d be a good one. I’ll say it goes to overtime, and we probably win by a field goal. Maybe a safety.”


BAG PRODUCT REVIEWS and equipment news you can use BY BRIAN BEAKY — CG EDITOR

Tech, or Talk?


t’s amusing to look back at the clubs we thought were super-cool in the early days of Cascade Golfer. In our inaugural issue, the hot new product was square drivers. Remember those? From the Nike Sumo to the Callaway FT-i, square drivers were all the rage in the early years after “moment of inertia” became a thing. Shoot, we even put Callaway’s FTiQ (designed in partnership with Lamborghini) on our cover in 2008, so excited were we and the rest of the golf world about the potential speed and forgiveness of these uniquely shaped heads. Within a couple of years, though, manufacturers had figured out that you could still maintain a high MOI without having to radically alter the traditional rounded shape of a driver, and square drivers went the way of the wood. From the perspective of the present, square-head drivers look like a fad. In reality, though, the MOI concept they pioneered was sound — and is still referenced in just about every new club released today. It’s just the packaging that now seems passe. The point is that when purchasing a club, it’s important to separate the true technological advancements (perimeter weighting, composite materials, increased face flex, etc.) from surface-level distractions. Redistributing weight in the clubhead to increase MOI? Technology. Square shape? Distraction. When you read about a club, or see one on The Golf Channel, pay attention to the way it’s described. If your main takeaway is, “They made it white this year!” then it’s probably just distraction. If it’s, “They’ve redesigned the internal structure of the head to increase face flex on mis-hits,” then it’s probably technology. The only way to know for sure, of course, it to hit one yourself. So head down to Puetz, pick up one of these new sticks, and find out what’s progress, and what’s just paint.


APRIL 2019




M5 & M6 Drivers


Epic Flash 2


M5 $549.99 M6 $499.99




ariances in the manufacturing process mean that the tolerances of any two “identical” drivers will never be exactly the same. To ensure that 100 percent of their drivers conform to USGA rules, manufacturers account for those fluctuations by leaving wiggle room between their targeted tolerance and the legal limit. With the M5 and M6 drivers, though, TaylorMade is intentionally manufacturing drivers beyond the legal limit, then injecting resin into ports on the face to bring them back within acceptable range. The exact amount injected into each club is determined by that driver’s measured tolerance after manufacturing — by doing so, designers can more precisely dial in each club’s tolerance, and provide more consistency to buyers. The results bear it out: both the M5 and M6 test “hotter” than their predecessors, the M3 and M4, with faster ball speeds and slight upticks in distance, and a sweet spot 100 percent larger than the original M1. The M5 will likely be preferred by better players who want to use the two sliding weights to better control shot shape and trajectory (up to 21,000 adjustable settings in all), while the M6 packs enough distance and forgiveness to make just about any golfer happy.


hen Callaway wanted to design the follow-up to the immensely popular Epic driver, it handed the reins over to a computer. Rather than build a prototype, test it, and refine it — over and over again, a costly and time-consuming process — the computer could quickly run through up to 15,000 simulations, testing how variations in the design of the Epic’s face affected its performance. The conclusion? Callaway had it all wrong. The computer suggested that Callaway’s famed “Variable Face Thickness” — a face thicker in the center and thinner towards the edges, was too simple. Instead, it suggested the new “Flash Face,” whose reverse side looks more like the inside of a boxer’s ear than a carefully crafted piece of machinery, covered in waves and bumps that seem random to humans, but are precisely calibrated to maximize ball speed. So, does it work? Oh, yeah. Tour pro Ollie Schneiderjans gained 10 miles per hour of ball speed after switching; before long, most Callaway pros had followed suit. That extra speed is bolstered by Callaway’s Jailbreak technology, which stabilizes the crown and sole to direct more energy back into the ball, plus an adjustable weight that allows golfers to dial in their preferred shot shape.

Order online at • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441



King F9 Speedback PUETZ GOLF PRICE




ou’re no doubt wondering, “Is ‘Speedback’ more of that marketing gibberish you warned me about?” The word: yes; the technology: no. The phrase “Speedback” is a reference to the shape and function of the head. By making the crown a little flatter, Cobra designers have tried to imitate the aerodynamics of an airplane wing, an effect further enhanced by the addition of “Power Ridges” on the crown for improved airflow. That’s the “speed” — they’ve also stuck a weight about as far “back” as one could get it to maximize the club’s MOI and increase forgiveness. Combine that with the face technology first seen on the F8 — the circular milled pattern and “Dual Roll” design that, not unlike Callaway’s Epic Flash, varies the thickness asymmetrically across the face — and you have a driver that is just as long and fast as Cobra’s King F8, but with a tighter dispersion. And, while Cobra has been one to use fancy colors to market its clubs, this black beauty keeps the flashiness under wraps — or, as Cobra pro Rickie Fowler says, “business on top, party underneath.” It also comes with Cobra’s “Cobra Connect” technology in the shaft, allowing you to track the distance and accuracy of every shot.





ING lovers, rejoice — there’s finally a sliding-weight driver on the rack for you. A full seven years after becoming one of the last manufacturers to add an adjustable hosel to their shafts, PING in January unveiled its first sliding-weight driver, the G410 Plus. A 16-gram weight can be moved from the toe to the heel to promote your preferred ball flight. (Chronic slicers may prefer the less-expensive G410 SFT, where the 16-gram weight has been permanently stabilized in the “draw” position.) Why did PING wait so long to add a moveable weight? It’s all about forgiveness — any weight added to the sole moves the center of gravity closer to the face; to offset this in the G410, PING has placed the weight as far back as possible, and made other changes to the clubhead structure to maximize MOI. That includes hiding the Dragonfly crown-structure technology inside the head to save weight, slightly increasing clubhead size as compared to the G400 (to move more weight farther out and back) and increasing the size of the turbulators on the crown to make the club more aerodynamic. Faster than the G400, and with the added benefit of adjustablity, it’s a worthwhile upgrade — and, it looks cool, too. FREE SHIPPING on orders of $99 and more • exceptions apply





hose of us who have lived here long enough have no doubt seen many a TWA 747 roll off the Boeing assembly line, lift off from Paine Field and bank east as it headed across the Pacific to Japan. Well, the Land of the Rising Sun is sending a “TW747” right back at us in 2019 in the form of the latest export from fast-rising Japanese brand Honma Golf. The TW — no, it doesn’t stand for “Tiger Woods,” but, in fact, “TWorld” — includes Honma’s new Real Distance technology, which allows both the face and lie angles to be adjusted without having to rotate the shaft, improving ball flight and distance overall. It also features Honma’s 4 Fang technology behind the face — literally four metal studs placed strategically behind the face to increase ball speeds — plus an ultra-thin crown with the brand’s own form of aerodynamic ridges, making the TW747 one of the faster clubs on the market. Two head sizes are available — a 455cc head built primarily to maximize ball speeds, and a 460cc head with a little extra forgiveness and the ability to adjust for draw/fade bias.

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Phantom X Putters PUETZ GOLF PRICE




cotty Cameron’s putters are among the most popular choices for Tour players and recreational golfers alike, particularly his Futura line of mallets. Tour players using the Futuras asked Cameron if he could mimic the mallet’s performance in a smaller profile, with more variety for players who prefer different types of alignments, shaft styles and setups. Cameron took them one further, granting all of their wishes — the new Phantom X line features nine new putters with five different head styles, plus varying alignment and shaft options — and upping the ante in the form of a higher MOI for increased performance. The nine putters — which Cameron calls “the most high-tech putter we’ve designed to date” — combine custom heel-and-toe weights with precision-milled aluminum faces and 303 stainless steel heads to promote a soft feel with solid feedback, plus a new Pistolero Plus grip that combines the benefits of both thinner and thicker grips. The nine models range in size and shaft options, so be sure to visit Puetz for a custom fitting before making your choice.


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Stroke Lab




Spider X 8


olf manufacturers can’t change your swing. That’s why most game-improvement clubs are designed to compensate for the mistakes you’re going to make — weights that can be adjusted to promote a draw or fade, putters (think the 2-Ball) that focus on improving your setup, or others (like Odyssey’s O-Works) that get the ball rolling straight no matter how you strike it. The Stroke Lab, though, is different. It doesn’t want to compensate for your mistakes — it wants to prevent you from making them in the first place. By converting the bulk of the shaft in the Stroke Lab putters to graphite, with a steel tip, designers cut 75 grams from the shaft’s overall weight, allowing them to add 10 grams to the head (in the form of sole weights) and 30 grams to the grip end, resulting in a more consistent, repeatable motion. Phil Mickelson used a new Stroke Lab putter to knock off Tiger Woods in The Match last November, and Danny Willette has already used one to win the DP World Tour Championship. What will you win with a Stroke Lab putter this summer? There’s only one way to find out.



ost of the time, the letter or number in a golf club’s name signifies its generation. In this case, the “X” in Spider X is an anniversary. While it may feel like they’ve been around your entire life, it’s actually been exactly 10 years since the first TaylorMade Spider putter rolled off the assembly line and into our hands (and hearts). In the decade since, no putter has been more popular among PGA TOUR pros, with players like Jason Day and Dustin Johnson putting for seemingly all the dough one could possibly need. While we generally warn buyers not to get too excited over paint, the Spider X’s copper and navy finishes are definitely eye-catching, contrasted by a new TruePath alignment aid on the crown (golfers can also opt for a more traditional alignment line, if you prefer). Of course, what’s made the Spider so popular is its power under the hood, including top-of-the-line forgiveness (especially on toe hits, assisted by heavier weights on the club’s back corners), and TaylorMade’s high-performing Pure Roll face insert, made thicker on the Spider X for better sound and feel.

Order online at • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441

Not Your Father’s Rangefinders


hen I used to caddy for my dad, there was only one way to calculate shot distance — find the nearest sprinkler head, pace it off, and take a best guess. Today’s rangefinders, by comparison, are so accurate that they’ll give you not only the precise distance to the flagstick, but will even take into account the slope of the fairway and current conditions, and can make club recommendations based on your typical distances. Check them out for yourself:





ook into the viewfinder of your Garmin Z80, and you’ll get the distance to the flagstick, sure, accurate to 10 inches from as much as 350 yards away. You’ll also, though, have GPS readouts indicating distance to the front, back and middle of the green, plus a course map with distances to hazards and layups. And — most usefully — you can see the exact size and shape of the green, with an arrow indicating where, exactly, that green is (helpful if, like me, you find yourself behind trees or hills quite often). There are other hybrid rangefinders that combine GPS and laser, but we haven’t found any as fun and easy to use.


Pro XE




here have been rangefinders that take elevation into account. Recently, we’ve even seen some that consider the temperature when making a “plays like” distance recommendation. Bushnell’s new Pro XE, though, goes a step further by adding barometric pressure to its algorithm to produce the most accurate distance recommendations of any laser rangefinder on the market — up to one yard from 500 yards out, to be exact. The JOLT vibration gives you confidence in your reading, while the new BITE feature allows the Pro XE to attach magnetically to your cart without the need for extra accessories.






he GX-5i3 is the most accurate rangefinder Leupold has ever produced, with accuracy to one-tenth of a yard. It can also be programmed to memorize your typical distances with each club, and give recommendations based on the distance, slope and, yes, environmental conditions. Play on a cold, damp, spring day, and the 5i3 will give you a different club recommendation than it would on a warm, August afternoon, when your limbs are loose and the fairways are rolling firm and fast. Try to get your GPS rangefinder to do that. FREE SHIPPING on orders of $99 and more • exceptions apply

New Balls Put The “Far” In Far East


ver the past few years, we’ve gotten used to seeing clubs from high-end Japanese brands like Honma, Fourteen Golf and XXIO show up in golf shops across the U.S.A. Now, they’re sending us their latest import — golf balls. Don’t get excited to start finding these in the bushes at your local course, though — with multi-layer construction and wind-tunnel-derived dimple patterns, these balls are manufactured to fly far and straight.


RB Tour & Tour X




hen you see a Mizuno iron in a player’s bag, you know they’re good. The same will soon be true for Mizuno balls, entering the U.S. market for the first time in 2019. Featuring a dimple design that’s the end result of 12 years of wind-tunnel testing, the new RB Tour keeps fast-flowing air closer to the surface of the ball, creating distance gains and improving trajectory. The Tour is best for players with a sharp downward attack angle, while the Tour X will be preferred by those who sweep their irons, or strike up with the driver.






onma’s gold-plated golf clubs (yes, literal gold) are some of the most premium sticks on the market. Their balls may not have any gold, but they are likely soon to take a place of similar reverence among gearheads. The TW-G6 is comprised of six unique layers, varying in density and stiffness, which combined result in a ball that reacts strongly off the face of a driver, but gives softer feedback to a putter. Players with both high and low swing speeds will find something to like here.


Premium 5 Gold




o, don’t get excited — this one doesn’t have any actual gold in it either, despite the name. What it does have, though, is a three-piece design that combines soft feel with superb distance scores as compared to other balls on the market. The same high-gloss coating used on luxury cars gives the Premium 5 a high-end look, while its “324 speed aero dimple” cover design delivers a high trajectory and outstanding distance. Available in Europe and Asia since 2016, it’s finally made it here not a moment too soon.

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RISK vs. REWARD Highlander Golf Course

Hole No. 17 Par 4 247 yards (Black Tees) The Setup: You won’t find another hole like this in our state. From the black tees, you are looking at just 247 yards, but it plays more like 230 with the elevation drop. Be careful, though — the wind can change that distance dramatically. It’s usually at your back, making the hole play even shorter. But, if it is in your face, best of luck, as the carry to reach the 20-yard fairway is 191 yards. Anything right is off the cliff, while misses left land on a steep slope that is typically shaved, giving the ball a chance to come back down. A bunker sits front right, guarding the kidney-shaped green. The green is long and skinny, with a hump in the middle.

The Risk: Most golfers that are going for the green will hit a

By Simon Dubiel driver, three-wood or rescue/hybrid club. Whatever you pull, you’d better hit it straight. If you have enough distance, you can miss up to 20 yards left, but the further you miss, the faster that little white ball will roll down the hill, across the green and potentially right off the cliff. Or, if it doesn’t make it down the hill, you are looking at an extreme downhill lie to a narrow green with nothing but empty space behind it. Enjoy that! If you are short and left, you may get caught up in the rough, leaving you an awkward little chip.

The Reward: Making birdies is fun. And, for most golfers, it’s an opportunity that will realistically come up only a few times over 18 holes — for some, even less. With one solid stroke,

you can give yourself a two-putt opportunity to put a circle on your scorecard, or maybe even two circles. It’s a 200yard carry even if you decide to lay up, so you might as well get the reward if you pull it off.

Final Call: Did you really drive all the way to Central Washington and play 16 holes, only to find yourself on a 247-yard par-4 with a 200-yard carry, and decide that now is the time to play it safe? Are you the one person out there who likes 200-yard layup shots? Uh, me neither. If my golf ball is going off the cliff, it won’t be because I chickened out. Take out the stick that will get you on the dance floor with one swing. Sure, you can’t lose the chips you don’t put in the middle, but you can’t win much, either.


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When pegs go in the ground at Augusta later this month, look for University Place caddy Greg

Bodine to keep

Tony Finau steady, ready and — hopefully — upright


By Steve Kelley and Brian Beaky

ugusta National

in April is as close to perfection as sport and nature can conjure. Its beauty masks all of its dangers. It’s all azaleas and pine trees, ecstasy and agony. In one short week, Augusta National can lift your heart, or break it. Last April, on the eve of the first round of The Masters, caddy Greg Bodine — who, like Jordan Spieth’s caddy, Michael Greller, calls University Place home — was part of the dense gallery crowded into Augusta National’s short course, straining to see over heads and through arms, watching his player, Tony Finau, play in the annual Par-3 Tournament, held the day before The Masters begins. This one-day, fun-day before the start of the first major of the season is a chance for the pros to relax and have a few laughs before the four-day grind that looms the next morning. It’s a family affair, where many of the golfers, including Finau, allow their kids to walk with them, and putt with them. Fathers and daughters, fathers and sons, husbands and wives share a sense of optimism before the next day’s roller-coaster ride over the rolling hills and diabolical greens of this glorious course. Many caddies look at the afternoon as time off. Players only need a few clubs, and their friends and families are happy — excited, even — to help. For Bodine, though, this was something not to be missed. “This was our first Masters,” he says, “and I was able to watch the Par-3 in the gallery with my wife. It was cool for us just to stroll along and watch Tony play.” It was cool. Until it wasn’t.


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Straining to see through the heads and arms of the fans in front of him on the tee box at Augusta’s par-3 eighth hole, Bodine could see Finau’s backswing, and watched the beginning of the shot’s parabolic flight into the air, but lost sight of it as it dropped toward the green. The murmur of the crowd grew, grew ... then exploded in a roar that could only mean one thing: Finau had scored a hole-in-one — one of the most incredible memories a golfer can make at Augusta. For a player at Finau’s level — a talented young star, for sure, with nearly $10 million in the bank entering the 2018 season, but with just one career win to his name, and a 125-to-1 long shot to win The Masters — it was quite possibly the most exciting moment of his young career. Finau headed toward the green, leaping and skipping in celebration, the crowd roaring around him and his smile as bright as the Georgia sun, the possibilities for this coming weekend becoming even more realistic. Then, just as quickly as Finau felt that surge of energy lifting him up, he was brought crashing back down — literally. The tall Utahan leaped one time too many and landed awkwardly on his left ankle, which bent at a gruesome angle. Bodine, celebrating behind the scenes, didn’t see the injury occur — but, he didn’t need to. The reaction of the crowd told him all he needed to know. “I heard the oohing and aahing of the crowd,” Bodine recalls. “And then the roar! And then the gasps and the screams. I knew right away that something had happened to Tony.” Less than 24 hours before his player’s first drive on the first hole of his first Masters, when he should have been celebrating a hole-in-one and preparing for the biggest day of his young career, Greg Bodine was, instead, sitting outside the medical tent at Augusta National, and wondering to himself: Is this really happening?

“I heard the oohing and aahing, and the roar,” Bodine recalls. “And then the gasps and the screams. I knew right away that something had happened to Tony.”

mini-Tours, Bodine began carrying their bags, developing his skills and soaking up information from the other caddies he met while driving around the country from tournament to tournament. It was a family affair, and the cousins’ personal relationship transitioned smoothly to a professional one — “Our relationships were natural,” Bodine says.



rowing up in University Place, Bodine had always pictured himself at The Masters. Bodine and his cousins, Andrew and Michael Putnam, lived just down the street from each other and played uncountable rounds together at courses throughout the south Tacoma area. After high school, the Putnams each went to Pepperdine University while Bodine furthered his golf career at Biola University, a private Christian school in Southern California. The older the trio grew, however, the more obvious it became that while all three may indeed have a future on the PGA TOUR — a remarkable achievement in any extended family, much less three kids from essentially the same block — it was Bodine’s knowledge of the game, understanding of course management and unique ability to keep his cousins at ease that were going to get him farther than his game. As the two brothers began climbing the ranks of the

couldn’t separate the personal from the professional. “It can be pretty tough,” Putnam says. “I’ve seen players who have brothers, or family members or coaches on their bags. It can add another level to the relationship. I was 22, and in my first year as a professional, and every moment could be so important. You want to succeed so bad. “It can be a perfect situation for a meltdown.” Maybe for some families. Not this one. “For me and Greg, though, it was great,” he says. “We never stepped on each other’s toes. No matter what position we were in, he was always Greg — really, really supportive. It was a great experience.” That first year, in 2011, Putnam played on the eGolf Professional Tour, a tour so obscure that the list of its most accomplished alumni includes only 2-3 names the most avid golf fan might recognize. The very best players generally topped out around $80,000 for the year — leaving just $8,000 or so for the caddies, based on the typical 10 percent share. In his third professional season, playing on golf’s AAA tour, the, Putnam earned $115,000 before expenses — good money, but still not adding much to Bodine’s bank account. Bodine enjoyed the travel and enjoyed being part of a team in the intensely competitive world of pro golf. But, he never saw it as a full-time career. He figured he’d caddy for a while, enjoying the freedom of youth while he could, and then — when he was ready for a real career — ultimately join the family business, Bodine Enterprises, and help his parents manage their various interests throughout the South Puget Sound. “I was getting married and didn’t think I could commit all of that time to caddying,” he recalls.

“Greg’s easy to be around,” says Andrew Putnam, for whom Bodine caddied until 2014. “He’s the most easy-going guy I know. He’s a good person, and has a great attitude — and that’s important when you spend eight hours a day together. But, he’s also an extremely hard worker. He takes the time to make sure everything is right.” Having a family member on your bag can be a prescription for disaster. The pressure on the PGA TOUR is relentless, requiring a constant focus and concentration that can put even the most laid-back players on edge. A critical remark from a caddy who is also your cousin can feel even sharper than normal — family is supposed to support you no matter what, after all. Putnam has witnessed just such disasters happen with other golfers who

professional golf tour is a little bit like a traveling circus. Each week, the entire tour — players, caddies, families, tour staff, etc. — travel from one town to another, set up shop for a few days, then pack up and do it all again. The individuals on Tour, therefore, spend a considerable amount of time together during the season, whether on the driving range, during practice rounds, at restaurants, and at the hotels and motels that become the tour’s temporary homes in each location. One player Bodine found himself connecting with during the 2013-14 Tour season was a young Salt Lake City native named Tony Finau. The 2006 Utah State Amateur champion, Finau had turned down college basketball scholarship offers — at six feet, four inches, he was hard to miss on the driving range — to play professional golf. Prior to 2014, his big break had been, literally, The Big Break — a second-place finish in 2009’s Big Break Disney Golf marked Finau’s highest-profile achievement before placing third at Q School in 2013 to earn his card for the 2014 season.

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Bodine Finau

Bodine first joined Finau for a three-week stretch in the spring of 2015 — “It was an audition,” Bodine recalls.


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With Putnam’s 2013 Tour season at an end after the Tour Championship in October, Bodine found himself without work on the calendar until February, when the 2014 season was scheduled to begin. When Alex Prugh, a Spokane native and UW grad with PGA TOUR status in 201314, found himself in need of a caddy for the Tour’s upcoming fall events, Bodine jumped at the chance to work the senior circuit, with Putnam’s blessing — the latter had no work to offer Bodine at the time, and wasn’t about to deny his cousin the potential paycheck. The two hit it off, and Bodine stuck with Prugh for the entire 2013-14 PGA TOUR season. Prugh usually played on the PGA TOUR in 2014, but on weeks when higher-priority players would bump him out of the field, he’d travel to a Tour event instead, and it was during these weeks that Bodine found himself striking up a friendship with Finau. The two occasionally played rounds of golf together and bonded over their shared interests. Bodine calls it, “a mutual connection.” As the following season kicked off, Bodine and Prugh had parted ways, and Bodine had returned home to University Place to start raising a family and earning a steady income. Word traveled, though, that Finau — who had earned his PGA TOUR card following a strong debut year on the — was looking for a caddy as he made the transition from golf’s minor leagues to the big leagues. Every life has its pivotal moments, when difficult decisions are made, and people question themselves. Do I take the easy way out, or do I challenge myself and take

a risk that offers opportunities, but no guarantees? Bodine and his fiancee, Kelsey, weighed their options. Greg could stay home, work for his parents, and earn a regular paycheck. The risk was low, and the financial security was high. Or, he could take a shot with Finau. Finau planned to plot his playing schedule to spend as much time as possible with his family. That fit with Bodine’s plans to be present for his bride-to-be. And, since they didn’t yet have kids to worry about, Greg knew that Kelsey would be able to join him on certain trips throughout the year. Remembering the camaraderie they had shared, impressed with Finau’s talent and character, and with Kelsey’s support, Bodine decided to live the life worth living — the one with occasional risks. He logged in to Twitter, and sent Finau a message. Finau didn’t take long to respond. “In golf, the only person who can help me inside the ropes is my caddy,” he told Utah Valley Magazine. “I knew I wanted a caddy like Greg.” Indeed, if had a special place to pair the personalities of golfers with their caddies, Finau and Bodine would have jumped off the web page, a perfect match. Their demeanors are calm and friendly. Both were in their mid-20s. Both are tall and athletic. Both are family men with a strong faith in God. The two teamed up for the West Coast swing to start the 2014-15 season. It was an audition.

“Greg’s easy to be around,” says PGA TOUR veteran Andrew Putnam. “He’s a good person, and has a great attitude, but he’s also an extremely hard worker. He takes the time to make sure everything is right.”


here isn’t any relationship in sports as unique as a golfer and his caddy. The caddy isn’t a coach in the traditional sense. Golfers have swing coaches and putting coaches and don’t need another voice in their ears. But, by the same token, golfers need someone to read putts — and read minds. A good caddy has to be a good listener, a loyal sidekick and a reader of his golfer’s mood. And, he also has to know the distances and topography of every spot on every course. He has to be equal parts surveyor, Sancho Panza and Sigmund Freud. “I tell people you can’t underestimate the part of the job where you just have to be good company,” Bodine says. “You’ve got to be easy to be around. I think that’s a natural strength of mine. I was hired on a trial basis, but I showed up for work and felt comfortable from the beginning. It just came naturally. Caddying for Tony was nothing I had to work hard at to get right.” In their first three weeks together, the duo made all three cuts, earning back-to-back top-25 finishes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. The following week, they made it official — sort of. “He played pretty decently on that swing,” Bodine recalls of his “audition” period. “One day, Tony said to me, ‘Go ahead and get your stuff for the Florida swing.’ I took that as the green light.” Their successful season continued — Finau made 22 of 31 cuts that first year, including five top-10s and 16 top25s, en route to a 43rd-place finish in the Fed Ex Cup standings and more than $2 million in winnings, a remarkable performance for a PGA TOUR rookie. And, that wasn’t even the best part — thanks to his strong start in 2015, Finau rocketed high enough up the Fed Ex Cup rankings to earn a spot in the 2015 U.S. Open ... being played at Chambers Bay, right in Bodine’s backyard. “It was amazing being able to share that week with my family,” Bodine recalls. “I envisioned my first major with Tony being somewhere I had never been, staying in a hotel and playing an unfamiliar course where I wouldn’t be as comfortable. For it to be Chambers, and to sleep in my old room at my parents’ house, have all my family with me and know the course so well — it was a perfect scenario for all of us.”

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© 2019 Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.

If had a special place to pair the personalities of golfers with their caddies, Finau and Bodine would have jumped off the web page, a perfect match. “It was special, too, because it was Tony’s first major, so we were able to share that together,” he adds. “For him to play so well was the cherry on top.” While much was made throughout the week of the local knowledge Greller, a former University Place elementary school teacher and Chambers Bay looper, was feeding to Spieth, barely anyone noticed another player using some home cooking to finish high up the leaderboard. “It helped me quite a bit,” Finau told The Golf Channel after finishing under par each of the first two days — days when many players struggled to adjust to Chambers’ unique conditions. “I noticed the more I saw the golf course, the more I was accustomed to the hills and the slopes around the greens. But, the one thing you can’t teach is experience, and that’s what my caddie has. It’s been a huge asset to me so far this week.” Finau and Bodine ultimately finished in a tie for 14th,

while Spieth and Greller would hoist the trophy on the 18th green. Considering where he had been just eight months prior, questioning whether to keep on caddying or return home to support his family, Bodine was as high as he’d ever been — he was home, and he was caddying, experiencing success on golf’s biggest stage. Then, just as quickly as Bodine felt that surge of energy lifting him up, he was brought crashing back down — literally. A few months after the U.S. Open — a stretch of success that included a top-10 at Finau’s first PGA Championship — Bodine was walking his dog down the street in University Place, when he slipped suddenly. “The next thing I knew, my leg was cracked,” he says. “It was a freak accident. There was a lot of trauma.” Bodine needed three surgeries and was off the Tour until March of 2016. Finau, of course, couldn’t just press

pause on his burgeoning career and wait for his caddy to return. “Things can change quickly,” Bodine says. Finau could have used the occasion to hire a new caddy — certainly, his success in his rookie season would have left him with no shortage of experienced PGA TOUR veterans willing to jump to the bag of the fast-rising star. Even an interim caddy might have Wally Pipp-ed Bodine into another career (a reference to the Yankees first baseman who sat out a couple of games with a headache, only to see his “interim” replacement, Lou Gehrig, play the next 2,130 games in his place). Instead, Finau asked his swing coach to caddy for him until Bodine recovered. Soon after he returned, Finau earned his first-ever PGA TOUR title, at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. “I know it could have gone the other way,” Bodine says, the appreciation obvious in his voice.

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Bodine Finau


Finau went 2-1 for Team USA at the 2018 Ryder Cup, winning his singles match 6-and4 over Tommy Fleetwood.


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his is how quickly the lives and fortunes of a PGA TOUR caddy can change. This is how quickly a seemingly bright future, one spent traveling the world and carrying the bag of one of the hottest players on Tour, can turn dark. In 2015, it was Bodine’s freak injury— coming mere months after the high point of his professional career — that had threatened to bring the whole thing crashing down. Now, as Bodine stood outside the medical tent at Augusta National, another freak injury — again, hard on the heels of the highest of emotional highs — once again put Bodine’s career stability at risk. In the moment, however, Bodine wasn’t thinking at all about himself, or his future. He was simply worried about his friend. Finau had managed to pop the ankle — it was dislocated, not broken — back into place and finish the par-3 tournament. But, it was now rapidly swelling, and in the moment, nothing about the future was clear. Would Tony miss a week, a month? Could he possibly miss the rest of the season? “The timing was just sad and scary,” Bodine says. “The first golf tournament Tony ever watched on TV was The Masters, when Tiger (Woods) won his first Masters. And, now he’s in the medical tent at The Masters and it doesn’t look like he can play.”

“You can’t underestimate the part of the job where you just have to be good company,” Bodine says. “You’ve got to be easy to be around. I think that’s a natural strength of mine.” “Sure, the thought crossed my mind that I might be home for six-to-eight months and have to find a job in the meantime,” he adds. “But, my real concern was Tony.” After what seemed like a long time, Finau limped out of the tent and delivered the news to Bodine: the caddy had better be ready, because there was no way Finau was going to miss his chance to play in The Masters. Nobody, not even Bodine, knew exactly how much pain Finau was in as he stepped to the first tee the next morning. Bodine, who had seen the dark-purple, swollen ankle for himself, couldn’t believe that Finau was really going to try to play. “I just thought that it couldn’t be as bad as it looks,” Bodine says. “I decided that as the round went along, I wouldn’t bug him about it. He was a soldier. I got a real


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“Greg’s super-friendly. Very smart. Very able. He is a cool dude, a good-looking dude,” says caddy Brian Sullivan. “Greg’s got it going on right now. He’s got to be loving this.” sense of his toughness. He was in a lot of pain. “I mean, what he did in Augusta that day was heroic.” What Finau did that day was shoot a four-under 68. To those who had bet against him even playing at all, it was a resounding announcement that 2018 was going to be his breakout season. Finau finished the tournament tied for 10th, and followed that with seven more top-10 finishes, including fifth at the U.S. Open, a tie for ninth at The Open Championship and second at the Northern Trust. At the end of the year, Finau and Bodine were given one of golf’s highest honors — the chance to represent their country at the Ryder Cup. Wearing the red, white and blue of Team USA, Finau went 2-1 in three Ryder Cup matches, winning his singles match 6-and-4 over Tommy

Bodine Finau Fleetwood. Merely an up-and-comer at the start of the 2018 season, by the end of it, Finau was ranked as the No. 9 player in the world.

T “

hey work really well together,” says Brian Sullivan, a former caddy for Mat Goggin. “Tony’s not a snotty, successful golfer-jerk. Greg fits right into that. Tony and Greg are very competitive, of course, but they’re really nice guys. Greg’s super-friendly. Very smart. Very able. He is a cool dude. He’s a good-looking dude. “If you look at it, Greg’s got it going on right now. He’s got to be loving this.” Indeed, there’s a lot to love. The Bodines have welcomed a son named Brooks, who still is young enough to come along for some of the PGA’s ride. Bodine is healthy and young enough himself to handle the physical part of his job. And, he enjoys the company of his boss. “I’ve become a better person the more I’m around Tony,” Bodine told Golf Monthly. “The company you keep creates who you are, and if you aren’t around the best person every day for nine months of the year, that wears on you.” As for the future, he doesn’t want to carry a bag as long as Fluff Cowan, who is 71 and still caddying for Jim Furyk. But, he’s living in the present, enjoying the moment. “Everything is going well,” he says. “Right now, every year when my new caddy credential comes in the mail, I get excited and feel like, ‘Let’s go!’ But, I’m taking it year by year.” “He’s in a great situation,” Sullivan says. “Some caddies stay in it because they need the money, but that won’t be Greg. He’s got his act together.” Steve Kelley was a longtime sports reporter and columnist for The Seattle Times. He also introduced readers to Jordan Spieth’s caddy, Michael Greller, back in 2014 (“Higher Education,” CG, Aug. ‘14).

“They work really well together,” says caddy Brian Sullivan. “Tony and Greg are very competitive, but they’re really nice guys.”

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Bear Mountain Ranch • Chelan


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While we all have our favorites, there are too many good golf courses in Washington state – and too much to be excited for in 2019 – to limit ourselves this year


By Brian Beaky CG Editor

very year, I start off with a list. Maybe you do, too, whether it’s a physical list, like mine, or just one that you keep in your head. On my list are all the golf courses that I am most looking forward to playing in the coming year, or those that I am most eager to visit. As a daily fee golfer – and the kind of person who doesn’t like to order the same thing twice at a restaurant – I find myself scattering my play across dozens of different courses each year. Indeed, if I play 25 rounds in a calendar year, I’ll probably play at least 20 different courses, if not more. (And yes, even for a golf magazine editor, 25 rounds counts as a good year – we may be fortunate enough to be able to call a round of golf a workday, but we still have families and office responsibilities.) Part of that, certainly, is to be responsible to our readers and stay current on as many courses as possible. But part, too, is that I just enjoy traveling to different parts of the state, meeting new people and gaining new experiences. There are so many memorable and delightful tracks all across the region, which can be enjoyed in so many different ways – the views at Highlander, Bear Mountain Ranch or Newcastle; the mental challenge of Chambers Bay, Wine Valley, or Gamble Sands; the picturesque beauty of Suncadia, Gold Mountain or Palouse Ridge; or the neighborly local charm of courses like Snohomish, Eagles Pride or Mount Si. With so much to choose from, it seems a shame to just lock on to one track and deny myself all that Northwest golf has to offer. So, I start my year with a list. Sometimes, the list is headlined by marquee road trips I know I’ll be taking in the coming year – you’d better believe that, in 2016, when we had our 72-hour Bandon getaway on the editorial calendar (“Unforgettable”, CG, Aug. ‘16), those tracks were in the A1 position. The same is true in 2014, when a trip to Kauai was in the works, and in 2013, when I knew I’d be making my first visit to the Central Oregon golf paradise and playing courses like Tetherow, Widgi Creek and all three courses at Sunriver. Some years, though – like this one, in fact – I enter the season without any dream vacations on the docket. That allows me to make room on my list for a wide range of courses. My favorites are always in there – this year, that part of the list would include Chambers Bay (I can’t wait to see those new greens!), Wine Valley (my personal No. 1) and both courses at Suncadia (usually a stop I make every year, and one I was sad to miss in 2018). Then, there are the courses that I either haven’t played but have heard good things about (tracks like Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club, Whidbey Golf Club, Moses Pointe, North Bellingham, Indian Springs or Whispering Firs at JBLM), those I’ve been away from for too long (like Apple Tree, Trophy Lake and the Cedars at Dungeness), or those with some new feature that I’m eager to check out, like the new greens at Chambers Bay and Swinomish Golf Links, the bevy of improvements to Port Ludlow, or the new holes at Legion Memorial. That’s 14 rounds right there – likely more than half of my total play in 2019 – and doesn’t even include other tracks I try and play every year, like Salish Cliffs, Washington National, Avalon … you get the picture. On the following pages, we write about some of the courses we’re planning to visit in 2019, with input from both our office staff here at CG HQ, and also our broader staff of contributing writers located all throughout Western Washington. We also asked you for your input via our social media pages, and included the reader responses that have us most excited to put the car in drive and make a beeline for the first tee. We are so incredibly lucky to live in a part of the world with a nearly limitless number of quality golf courses at almost every price point. Let’s get out there this year and play as many as we can.

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Chambers Bay University Place

Tony Dear, Author and CG Contributor

Chambers Bay • No. 16

“I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Chambers Bay’s new greens,” says Dear, when asked for his input. You and everybody else, buddy. While there’s no shortage of great courses in our region, there’s only one that has ever made it into the U.S. Open rotation. So, when that course does something as significant as rip out all of its greens and replace them with a completely different kind of turf, it’s certainly going to be big news. Planted in November and covered throughout the worst of our winter weather to protect the nascent turf, the greens will make their official debut on April 1, when the first public tee times begin. How they look, how they hold up and — probably most significantly — how they play will go a long way toward determining whether the 2015 U.S. Open becomes a mere memory, or the start of something big. Photo by Rob Perry


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The Resort at Port Ludlow Port Ludlow

Resort at Port Ludlow • Timber No. 8 Simon Dubiel, CG Tournament Director “I’d probably put Port Ludlow tops on my list,” Dubiel writes. “I haven’t played it since they sunk a ton of money into a couple of years ago, and I hear that the condition of the course is as good as it’s ever been.” If true, that’s quite a statement. Port Ludlow has always been one of Washington’s prettiest tracks, with colorful flowers lining many holes, and old-growth tree stumps left over from the region’s logging past now serving as homes for all kinds of flora and fauna. Both the Tide and Timber nines start out atop a high ridge looking down over the Ludlow Marina (and the charming Inn at Port Ludlow), before tumbling down to the valley below in a series of exciting tee shots and downhill approaches. Designed by Robert Muir Graves — those leftover stumps are a signature of many Graves designs — Port Ludlow has, at times, been called Washington’s No. 1 public course. If it’s at anything even close to its best in 2019 — and the millions poured into over the past two years would suggest that it is — then it’s one that should be on your list, too.

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Highlander Golf Course


East Wenatchee

Ian Civey, CG Sales “I’ve always really enjoyed playing out at Highlander, and I haven’t had the chance to go back since they finished their redesign a few years ago,” Civey says. “I’ve seen pictures, though, and the guys at the office say it’s pretty cool, so I’d love to get back over there and check it out.” Ian, let me tell you — it’s worth the trip. In its first life, as a links course, Highlander’s signature shot was the view from the No. 9 tee box, looking across a yawning canyon to the green precariously perched on the other side. To its right is the beautiful, English-countryside style clubhouse; to the left ... miles and miles of endless views, extending all the way to the Cascade Mountain foothills. When course owners made the decision earlier this decade to rebuild Highlander as a parkland-style course, they not only added more than 500 trees and multiple water features to the front nine, but also completely rebuilt the back nine. Major changes were made to six holes, including the addition of two more holes that bring the cliffside into play — the par-4 17th, a 245-yard thriller played across the canyon, and the par-3 18th, a 175-yard shot back towards the cliff’s edge, to what looks from the tee like an infinity green. Now, instead of just one postcard moment, Highlander has at least three — making it a great play on any Central Washington golf trip.

Highlander Golf Course • No. 2

APRIL 2019



Palouse Ridge Golf Club Pullman

Craig Smith, Seattle Times and CG Contributor

Palouse Ridge Golf Club • No. 3


APRIL 2019

“The course has been ranked the No. 2 college course in the United States by Links Magazine, and I haven’t played it,” admits Smith. “Designed by the late John Harbottle III, Palouse Ridge opened in 2008, just after I quit covering Washington State football for The Seattle Times. I enjoyed playing the old campus course at WSU; from the fifth tee, I think I could see Montana. OK, I’m kidding, but I’m eager to see what Harbottle did with the rolling terrain. I like WSU’s decision to build a first-class course. It’s like they said, ‘We have plenty of land and we’re going to build something we can be proud of.’” Boy, Craig, if you liked the old WSU course, are you in for a treat. Palouse Ridge is what happens when you give a true genius — John Harbottle III — an incredible patch of land, and let him run free. If you’ve played Harbottle’s other Northwest gems — notably, the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain, and the re-design of White Horse — then you know what you’re in for: A fun mix of risk-reward bangers and Tour-level tests, all set against a backdrop that will leave your jaw on the floor. Few courses are worth a five-hour drive just to play; this is one.

OF TOPTHE LIST Alderbrook Golf Club • No. 18

Alderbrook Golf Club Union

Kirk Tourtillotte, CG Vice President “I’d love to do an Alderbrook, Port Ludlow, Cedars at Dungeness trip,” says Tourtillotte. “Those are three fun courses, and it’s been a while since I’ve played any of them.” We’re betting that more golfers are familiar with the last two courses on that list than the first one. Located in Union, about a half hour northeast of Salish Cliffs and 25 miles southwest of Gold Mountain, Alderbrook’s out-of-the-way location keeps it off the radar of most casual players. You don’t just come across Alderbrook on your regular commute — you go there specifically to play it. When you do, you’re rewarded with a course that, were it located in, say, Bellevue or Burien, would be jammed with golfers from dawn to dusk (and probably charge twice the greens fee, too).Instead, you are able to play largely at your own pace, relishing the solitude afforded by the towering evergreens that line most holes, with occasional glimpses of the Hood Canal below. At just $30 in the spring (and $55 on a peak summer weekend), it’s a great choice for a golfer looking to break new ground in 2019, especially when paired on a day trip or weekend with any of the courses referenced above.


APRIL 2019

Gamble Sands Brewster

Jim Moore, Host, 710 ESPN Seattle “I’ve heard so much about Gamble Sands and Salish Cliffs, and I haven’t played either one as yet,” writes Moore. “I’m looking forward to playing them both, but especially Gamble Sands, because I’ve heard so much about how playable it is for an average golfer. And at Gamble Sands, I won’t be tempted to go into the casino like I will at Salish Cliffs.” I’ll be honest — our staff gasped out loud when Jim’s reply came in. It’s one thing not to have gone to Gamble Sands — it’s only been open a few years, and is a 3-4 hour drive. But, Salish Cliffs? There’s no excuse for that one. As the co-host, with Shon Crewe, of our region’s pre-eminent golf broadcast — the Northwest Golf Show, weekends on 710 ESPN — it would behoove Jim to make it out to both courses this year. Our readers ranked Gamble Sands No. 1 in the state two years ago, and for good reason — it’s every bit as fantastic as you’ve heard, with views that stretch for miles and holes that are visually and mentally stimulating, yet still quite conducive to good scores. Make the trip, Jim — you won’t regret it.

Gamble Sands • No. 16

Leavenworth Golf Course

...Located in the beautiful Washington Cascades

15% OFF Coupon Book your tee time today! (509) 548-7267 Leavenworth Golf Course 9101 Icicle Rd. Leavenworth, WA 98826 Offer not valid with any other discount offers

Leavenworth Golf Course • (509) 548-7267 • 9101 Icicle Rd., Leavenworth, WA 98826

18-Hole Golf Course located just one mile from the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth APRIL 2019



APRIL 2019

Loomis Trail Golf Club • No. 18 Circling Raven • Worley, Idaho

Loomis Trail Golf Club Blaine

Brian Beaky, CG Editor Of all of the courses statewide this year, I find myself most excited to head up to Blaine and play Loomis Trail. There was a time just a couple of years ago when we weren’t sure we’d ever be able to play Loomis again — the owners of the Semiahmoo Resort had put the course up for sale, and there was no guarantee from resort ownership that Loomis would be sold to someone who planned to operate it as a golf course. Fortunately, the Lummi Nation, owners of the nearby Silver Reef Casino Resort, whose ancestors first settled the land on which Loomis Trail now sits, stepped in last fall to buy the course and immediately announced their commitment to keep Loomis open. Even better, they’d be taking it fully public, 365 days a year (previously it was open to the public only every other day). They’ve also invested in the future of the course, putting money into Loomis’ historic clubhouse and beautiful conditioning, and creating stay-and-play packages with the Silver Reef Casino Resort that will no doubt lure golfers from both sides of the Canadian border looking to enjoy a weekend of golf in Whatcom County. Golfweek recently rated Loomis the No. 5 public course in Washington state — with its greater accessibility and improved rate packages drawing even more golfers in the coming year (including its first-ever Cascade Golfer Cup tournament, on Aug. 17), its position in our own reader-driven, bi-annual rankings is also sure to improve.


Be One With The Raven

t’s fun to dream about the courses you’re excited to play this year — but it’s a lot more fun to go play them yourself. That’s why we are going to send one Cascade Golfer reader — and their favorite traveling companion — on an overnight trip for two one of our favorite destinations — Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort, home to one of America’s top-100 public courses, Circling Raven! You’ll play your way across the rolling hills of Gene Bates’ classic by day, enjoy a dinner in one of the resort’s numerous premier restaurants, then party the night away at the resort casino, before crashing in a fantastic hotel suite — on us! Enter to win today at!

APRIL 2019


OF LIST TOPTHE Tetherow Golf Club • Bend, Ore.

Reader’s Choice


hose are the courses our staff and contributing writers are looking forward to playing this year — but what about you? Here’s where you’ll find our readers teeing it up in 2019: “Looking forward to playing Kalispel Golf & Country Club in September, registered to play in my first Senior Women’s Amateur for the PNGA. :)” — Teresa Miller “White Horse Golf Club — it was in summer condition all winter long. At least until the snow!”— Dave Cox “Gamble Sands — I am just in another world walking that course.” — Ray Peck “Legion Memorial Golf Course, once the remodeled holes are opened up.” — Kathy Anderson “Desert Canyon -- desert golf at its finest in Washington state.” — Craig Strand “I want to get out on the new greens at Chambers Bay.  I’m down on the South Range there 2-3 times a week coaching The First Tee of South Puget Sound classes, but I don’t get the opportunity to play the course very often.” — David Tison “The Home Course. Been a member for years. It’s both challenging and fun to play. Not many 7,600-yard courses here in the PNW that play that long. Great views as well.” — Larry Peterson “Tetherow and Pronghorn — fourth of July weekend!” — Rick Clapham “Will be in Phoenix/Scottsdale for Masters weekend in April. We-Ko-Pa, Southern Dunes, Ocotillo. Eighty degrees, golf in the morning, Masters in the afternoon ... sounding pretty good after Snowpocalypse!” — Adam Montgomery “I’m looking forward to playing Gamble Sands this summer during peach season. Playing golf and eating myself sick on peaches sounds like a good time.” — Joseph A. Labbatt “Can’t wait to get back to Suncadia and the Rope Rider course — always great fun!” — Northwest Golf Tour (via Facebook) 58

APRIL 2019

Lake Chelan Golf Course Chelan

Dick Stephens, Publisher “I have to get to Gamble Sands this year — it kills me every time our staff come back talking about what a blast it is,” Stephens says. “And, it’ll give me a chance to swing by Lake Chelan again, too. It’s been years since I’ve been there, and all I remember are the views.” The views are what will stick with you for 10 years — the day you play Lake Chelan, though, you’re even more likely to appreciate the greens fees, which are less than half of what you’ll pay at other courses in the area offering similar vistas of Lake Chelan and the Columbia River valley. In a region dominated by courses with big greens, big views and greens fees to match, Lake Chelan is a throwback to an earlier time — 1970, to be exact, long before the explosion of the Washington wine industry turned Chelan from a sleepy summer town to one of Washington’s premier vacation destinations. Small greens — many of which are elevated above the fairways — put a premium on iron control and club selection over pure distance, while the friendly staff and even friendlier locals who call the course home give the place a small-town vibe it’s hard to find anymore. It’s a stop on every visit we make to Central Washington, and should be on your list, too.

Whidbey Golf Club Oak Harbor

Bob Sherwin, CG Contributor “We’re thinking about investing in a vacation home somewhere and Whidbey’s on our list,” Bob says. “I’d love to check out Whidbey Golf Club and see what it’s like.” The short answer: it’s like someone took a beautiful course that had been members-only for 50 years, and opened it up to public play — yet remained committed to maintaining it as if just a few hundred old men were walking its fairways each week. First-time visitors usually go home gushing about the greens — far from the rain-soaked surfaces you’d expect of a course located directly in the path of Pacific storms that roll down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Whidbey instead features firm, fast surfaces that reward players who can keep their approach below the flagstick. There’s a lot of water, but tee boxes that tip out at around 6,400 yards mean you can dial back a little to avoid the trouble and still score well — the course was built to make members happy, after all, so it’s always going to give you a fair chance at birdie. Of all of the courses on this list, this is the probably the one that’s been played by the fewest number of CG staffers since it opened for public play a few years back — a fact we’ll just have to remedy in 2019.

APRIL 2019





eports of golf’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sure, we’ve lost some courses over the last decade, but there’s no shortage of quality tracks at any price point, at least not in this region. Every other year, as part of our bi-annual course rankings — coming again in August — we rank the top courses in various price ranges, from those under $50 to those over $100. The reality, though, is that if we had more space on the page, we could make a great top-10 list out of courses under $40 (topped by tracks like Eagles Pride, Lake Spanaway, Snohomish Golf Course, and both courses covered in this feature), and could even find a few quality tracks you can play in mid-summer (at twilight or early-bird times) for around $30 apiece. If you can’t find a good round of golf in your price range ... well, either you’re not trying, or you just need a little guidance. Over the next couple of pages, we’ll hit two of our favorites in the sub-$40 range. Log on to Facebook and let us know yours — that way, we can all go out and save some green.

In the “Sun Belt”

At The Golf Course

Voted #1

in Washington for Best Value by Featuring some of the best and most well maintained greens in the area! Located in the Sunbelt of Western Washington

We receive less rain during the wet season and less heat during the summer

Offering Discount Punch Cards No Expiration

Remember, we’re only 15 minutes from I-5 exit #212, in the “Sun Belt” on Camano Island.

Like us on Facebook

Camaloch Golf Course

(360) 387-3084 60

APRIL 2019

Auburn Golf Course • Auburn


Auburn Golf Course AUBURN

Golf is a game that rewards patience. And, there may be no better place in the Seattle area to practice that virtue than at Auburn Golf Course. As you go back and forth on largely side-by-side fairways through your first nine holes, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about Auburn, and why so many golfers from the Puget Sound region are willing to drive a half hour or more to play it. Sure, the greens fees — topping out around $40 in the summertime, and with early-bird, twilight and online specials that can bring rates under $30 — are great, the clubhouse and restaurant (opened in 2008 at a cost of about $4 million) are a nice upgrade, and the course itself shows evidence of the money that’s been put into it over the past several years, including the reconstruction of nine fairways, 17 greens and 17 tee boxes. Over the last two years alone, fairways have been top-dressed with nearly 3,000 tons of sand, all to improve turf conditions and playability year-round. Design-wise, though, those first few holes are pretty typical of municipal golf, ones where you can slice a ball into an adjacent fairway, and just knock it back over with your second without too much trouble. The back nine, though, is where everything changes. An uphill climb to a blind green at the short, par-4 11th marks the first of six-straight holes that are as interesting as just about any you’ll find in the area, with tight fairways, tricky doglegs, breathtaking elevation changes and some of the prettiest par-3 scenery around. Holes No. 12 through 14 play through the trees atop the ridge — including a 487-yard par-5 where a good drive sets up a fun, risk-reward decision — before breaking out into the

sunlight again at the 15th tee box, one of the most dramatic spots in all of Washington golf. An 80-foot drop from the tee box to the fairway below leads to drives that appear to hang forever in mid-air — it’s the kind of shot world-class golf architects dream of including in their high-end destination tracks, and certainly not one you expect to find at your local muni. That sets up the course’s signature hole, the verdant, par-3 16th and its forced carry over water to a well-protected green. Survive it with par or better, and your reward is a closing duo each featuring water that can be reached from the tee, requiring well-placed shots to score well. By the time you reach the clubhouse again, and head in for a drink and a bite at Bogey’s Public House, you’ll get it. Auburn’s a player-friendly track in all the ways that matter — it’s not overly difficult, but with enough challenging shots and tricky greens to give a low-handicapper a decent test (its blue-tee slope of 124 is higher than the back tees at Gamble Sands); it’s conveniently located in the heart of the Puget Sound region; it doesn’t put on any fancy airs — in fact, course staff go out of their way to make golfers feel welcome; and, most importantly, it won’t break the bank. If it’s your first time, you’ll be back. And, if it’s not, then that means you’re a golfer who knows a good value when he or she sees one.

YARDAGE (PAR) 5,571-6,450 (72) RATES $12-$31* TEL (253) 833-2350 WEB * Spring rates, see website for current rates


High Cedars Golf Course • Orting


Scenic 18 Hole

High Cedars Golf Course

Public Golf Course In Fall City, Washington, East of Seattle


Where do you go when you want a course that’s easy enough for a double-digit handicapper, but still good enough to host qualifiers for a PGA TOUR event? All for less than $40? If you’re on the south end, you probably go to High Cedars. Built in 1971 and lovingly maintained ever since, High Cedars’ relatively low slope (just 117 from the blue tees, barely above the USGA average of 113) likely has more to do with its lack of hazards than the actual challenge of the course itself. While fewer than two dozen bunkers line its 27 holes (including a par-72, 18-hole course and an executive length nine-holer), there are certainly few pushovers. The shortest of the par-5s, No. 1, is still 484 yards even from the white tees, while two par4s top out over 420 yards from the blues. You won’t get to break out the short irons on any of the par-3s, either, the shortest of which, No. 14, is 148 yards from the white tees, and 171 yards from the blues. In other words, you’re still going to have to hit the ball straight — wind up in the trees, or even just the longer rough, and it suddenly becomes difficult to reach those greens in regulation. Perhaps that’s one reason — along with a flat layout that makes it easily walkable — why it’s so popular with seniors. You know that old guy you get paired with sometimes, who never seems to swing very hard, and doesn’t have a ton of distance, but manages to knock it arrow-straight, every time? He’ll kill it at High Cedars, where open approaches mean that even a shot landing short of the green has a great chance to roll up onto the surface, or leave an easy up-and-down. Play it on a clear day and you’ll be able to pad your Instagram feed with incredible photos of Mount Rainier, towering over just about every shot. Just re-focus in time to take that next shot — otherwise, the old guy in your group is going to make you look like a fool. And, if you are the old guy? Offer some bets on the first tee — not only will you save some green, you’ll probably make some, too.

Golf Digest Best Places to Play in 2004 and 2008!




Online Tee Times and Web Specials Available at 425-441-8049 or 425-222-5244 Only good for 4 players with same day tee time. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Good Monday - Thursday. Expires 5/31/19 Not valid on May 27, 2019

YARDAGE (PAR) 5,295-6,647 (72) RATES $16-$32* TEL (360) 893-3171 WEB * Spring rates, see website for current rates

APRIL 2019



A Little More Action, Please Intimidated by table games? Let our CG Insider tell you what you need to know. By Brian Beaky CG Editor


s is no secret to any regular reader of Cascade Golfer, one of our favorite leisure-time activities — especially in the spring, when we’re looking for ways to get a little action — is to head down to Auburn’s Muckleshoot Casino and see how far we can stretch our first $100. With a little bit of savvy and a good deal of luck, we’re usually able to make enough to at least cover our gas and a meal, which, all things considered, makes for a pretty good night. Recently, though, it’s come to our attention that many of our fellow readers are intimidated by casino table games. Whether it’s because you’re worried about going heads-up with a card shark at poker, have heard you need a good system to win at blackjack, or just have no idea whatsoever how the craps table works, you often just

find yourself sitting at a slot machine and hoping for the best. But, the table games are, in fact, your best bet to walk away at the end of the night with a little extra dough. Below, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to list three table games where, if you play your cards right, you can trim that house advantage under 1.5 percent, along with a tip for each from our CG Insider. And, one extra Insider’s Tip? Don’t forget to keep the karma flowing, and tip your friendly dealers.




There is, quite literally, nothing more fun in a casino than to take those dice and chuck ‘em across the table as a dozen strangers cheer you on. Craps looks complicated, but is actually relatively simple (and, should you want to learn, the Muckleshoot Casino offers free craps classes at 7:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). It also has some of the most favorable odds, with a typical house edge as slim as 1.41 percent on the most common bet. The action starts with a “come-out” roll — if the “shooter” (that’s the person with the dice), rolls a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll, bettors who put their chips on “pass” win, while “don’t pass” bettors win if it’s a 2 or 3, and push if it’s a 12. Any other number becomes the “point,” which the shooter then tries to roll again before rolling a 7, at which point the dice will pass to the next shooter. Really, that’s it. Doesn’t sound so complicated, right? There are other bets available on the table — single numbers, come/don’t come, specific dice combos — and you can also place new and separate bets each time the shooter attempts to roll their point.

Just about everyone has played blackjack, but it can still be intimidating to sit down at a table with more experienced players who all seem to know what they’re doing. The reality, though, is that you’re not playing against them — just the dealer, and while it may seem like the dealer magically gets the perfect card each and every time, in fact, the house odds, on average, aren’t all that much better than yours. If you’re feeling confident, play some of Muckleshoot Casino’s more unique blackjack variants — in “Down Under,” the dealer will give you a sense of the value of their hole card (low, high, or middle) while “Super Fun 21” uses a single deck, making it easier for newbies to track which cards have already been played and gauge the likelihood of the next card being high or low.

Not just for secret agents, James Bond’s favorite game is a staple on casino floors worldwide. Part of the reason is that it’s simple to play — like blackjack, two hands play to a number (in this case, 9) and you, as the player, simply bet on which hand you think is likely to get closest. After you’ve placed your bet on either the “player” or “banker” (just names to differentiate the hands, which have nothing to do with you as a player or the casino as the house), two cards are dealt to each hand and the card values are added. Face cards and 10s are worth zero, and aces are worth one. Should the total of the two cards exceed nine (say, 6+7=13), then the tens column figure is dropped ... thus, the value in this case would be three. At that point, a third card may be dealt to the player and/or banker hand, based on pre-established rules. The good news is, you don’t have to know the rules! Since you can’t bet or affect play at this point, it doesn’t really matter — the dealer does all the work. For newbies, that makes baccarat one of the simplest table games there is, and with no real strategy to play, it’s a good way to look cool without having to know too much about what you’re doing.

Insider’s Tip: Once the point is established, you can either take or lay odds. This is an additional bet that the point is going to be made — that is, the shooter will roll it again before rolling a seven — or not. It’s the only bet in the casino where the casino has no house edge. The Muckleshoot Casino offers 3x, 4x and 5x odds, depending on the point.


APRIL 2019

Insider’s Tip: If you have 9 and the dealer is showing 3, 4, 5 or 6, double — you have a good chance to improve your hand, while the dealer will have to take another card. The same is true if you have 10 and the dealer shows any card between 2 and 9. If you have 11, always double.

Insider’s Tip: Even though a commission is sometimes taken out of banker-bet plays, the banker is still a better bet overall.

Profile for Varsity Communications

Cascade Golfer — April 2019  

The April 2019 edition of Cascade Golfer, the Pacific Northwest's largest and most widely read quarterly golf publication.

Cascade Golfer — April 2019  

The April 2019 edition of Cascade Golfer, the Pacific Northwest's largest and most widely read quarterly golf publication.